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Mangal II

I’ve been wanting and waiting to go to Mangal II for what seems like forever. I’ve seen countless posts on Instagram that I’ve drooled over and read many a review in anticipation. When deciding where to dine for mine and Laurie's 5 year anniversary, it was really the only place I wanted to go. So finally, a Mangal II review for you all, better late than never.

Situated in the heart of Dalston’s food scene, Mangal II offers a refined Anatolian menu with seasonal produce and modern flavours. The dining experience is lively and vibrant, making the restaurant a truly exciting place to be.

We were sat in front of the open kitchen which meant we had a great view of the infamous Ocakbasi grill. It was thrilling to watch the chefs in action and I felt inspired from the outset.

Despite the wonderfully concise menu, it was a painstaking task narrowing down the dishes we wanted to order as everything sounded delicious. We started with sourdough pide with cultured kaymak butter, cold grilled onion salad and brown crab sarma with a langoustine emulsion. The pide (Turkish flatbread) was hot off the grill and indeed excellently sour, complimented by the creamy kaymak butter. The onion salad was marinated in a pomegranate molasses dressing that was sweet, sour and quite sensational. To quote Laurie, “This is how I want onions to taste.” However, the star of the starters for both of us was the brown crab sarma. Crispy grilled grape leaves stuffed with rice and brown crab meat, topped off with a langoustine emulsion. The textures and flavours were just perfect and I could have easily inhaled another plate of them.

For mains, we had the mushroom manti dumplings with confit tomato and yoghurt, the grilled octopus with butter beans and the chicken thigh shish. Again, the seafood was the stand out dish for me but Laurie was awestruck by the tenderness and taste of the chicken. Of course, we had over-ordered, so by the final dishes we were bursting at the seams but it was worth every popped button. I’m already dying to go back for more so it’s a 10/10 would return from me.

The cherry on top was sharing the restaurant with Jay Rayner and Chef Tim Anderson - what a treat.